Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: reading

Recently (February 2015)

finishing editing meeting minutes for a big deal meeting. this is much harder than I anticipated.

rolling with doing work when I have the energy, ignoring time and day of the week

going to so.many.places, starting with Austin next week.

updating the blog, moving it to a new home with a new look. Stay tuned!

watching Fargo (my Martin Freeman crush is deep). Walking Dead. Hockey. Can’t wait to binge-watch House of Cards.

reading Station 11. Just finished The Bone Clocks and Me Talk Pretty One Day.

remembering being read to as a kid, especially Charlotte’s Web at school and Little Women by my grandmother at home.

quitting alcohol, going on 3 weeks

thinking about creating a podcast

celebrating my birthday

loving H’s support, and how he’s obsessed with listening to a book on tape.

drinking hot chocolate with coffee

dreaming of babies #notpregnant

wearing a random assortment of pajama-like clothing

missing Stephanie

listening to Book Riot, Raise Your Hand Say Yes, Dabbles vs Doers and the Nerdist podcasts.

planning many, many trips

embracing the next few months are not what I thought they’d be, including 6 flights, but it should all still be pretty awesome.

spending less money, despite said trip planning travels.

wishing I could read in the bathtub all day, everyday. Actually, wishing for a better tub in general. (Birthday gift?)

feeling grateful this post-event season feels easier than other years

obsessed with Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (you’re welcome)

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Library Haul – February 2015

The other day, I was feeling pretty crappy, but after a hot shower & a mug of hot chocolate spiked with coffee, my energy was on the mend. I ventured out to run a bunch of errands (including buying my bridesmaid dress for L&T’s wedding – woo!), and found myself at the public library.

I fucking love the library.

The quiet, the stacks of books, the gathering of people all minding their own business. It’s an introvert’s dream. Any time I feel out of sorts, a trip to the library always helps. Not to mention it feeds a need to have new items – but the great thing about library books is, if I don’t like them, they’re due to be returned in 4 weeks or less. #winwin

Recently, all things reading have taken up residence in the forefront of my mind. I have a stack of fiction books waiting for my attention (explains why most of the titles above are non-fiction). I discovered BookRiot and Reading Lives podcasts. I even had a reading date with Billye where we both sat together on her front porch, reading our own books, separately, together. It was great.

Hoping to share more of my reading life here, since I think a lot of you are readers yourselves. So we’ll start with my library haul updates and I’ll share what I’ve been reading soon. And I would love for you to share anything you’d like about your reading life in the comments.

You can check out my (outdated) history of reading here. I find it hard to be recommended books, but Lindsey has yet to steer me wrong. Happy reading.

Day Alone – Last Bookstore

Since yesterday was Veterans Day (and work was closed) I took Monday off as well, creating a 4-day weekend (after 4 days of travel for work). It was the perfect way to get grounded.

I did a HITT exercise, gave the dog a bath and then ran 2m with him. I met a friend pretty early for breakfast at Paper or Plastik Cafe (where the “no laptop” pic was taken above – Hi Julie!) and then picked up a weaving Jessica O’Brien made and gave away for free via Twitter (heart the Internet).

Some time that morning I thought about The Last Bookstore in downtown LA – I’d never been. Having the entire day to myself seemed like a good enough reason to go.

The drive downtown was pretty easy with the help of GPS and I found a metered spot across the street. #bonus

Inside it is all sorts of used-bookstore-goodness. There are shelves and shelves of books, grouped in the usual categories, but the endcaps had random assortments of new and used volumes. The tables in the middle held art or coffee table books – the themes not entirely obvious at first glance. There were a bunch of very worn, very old chairs strewn around, some with people lounging and reading. And there were PA speakers set up, with a random playlist going, though I caught some Conor Oberst, which made me super happy.

I walked around for over an hour, collecting a few books that I thought were worth owning. And by worth owning, I mean, books whose pages I may want to write in the margins of. I love reading but I don’t buy books often anymore. In the interest of more open space in our apartment, I gave away most of my books in the past few years – getting our living room down to one bookcase and the bookcase upstairs holding other things besides just books.

But that dry, paper smell of stacks of books? That never gets old.

I drove from the bookstore to a Starbucks. I tried writing some, but my brain felt so overwhelmed with ideas, it seemed blank. After an hour of scratching around, I left to pick up groceries.

At home I unpacked the groceries, biked the dog around the neighborhood, cooked Mexican food for dinner, and pulled the 9 of Cups from the tarot deck: It is a sign to enjoy the abundance of life and to feel each of your emotions as if you had never felt any of them before. See the perfection all around you.

Yes, another day alone. Just like my day in Pasadena last month, it was a much needed luxury of spending time with myself, and creating space to just be.

Perfection.

Day Alone In Pasadena

Monday I had the day off and decided to go to Pasadena alone.

I’m not sure why I wanted to visit Old Pasadena, but the idea popped into my head and off I went. Well, first I had to pick up and return tables from a work event. And I had to drive kind of far in mid-day traffic.

But once I found parking, I was off.

To lots of walking around.

I started near a park and wove my way up past Castle Green and then on to the main drag of shops. I’m always surprised how much of a place is generic – the same stores as anywhere else in the country.

It was hot out, the sun beating down on me as I walked with a fabric backpack on. I stopped at The Juice Farm. Sipped on this deliciousness while I walked around The Paper Source store and past a bunch of other places.

I love the old buildings – the brick and fired stone.

My original plan was to go to Intelligentsia (how cooooool does this place look??) and write and read in the cool darkness of a hipster coffee shop while sipping a fancy latte.

But the public restroom gods conspired against me. Or, I guess, the lack of public restroom gods… because it was hot out I drank a lot of water, then I had that smoothie, and then I needed to pee. Really badly, but there didn’t seem to be a public restroom anywhere. I even walked all the way down back down to the park to try some port-a-potties I saw and they were locked. LOCKED. Port-a-potties with big locks on them. WTF.

I wanted to spend my lunch money somewhere I’ve never been, but the need for a bathroom became the priority. When I did a loop through the coffee shop I didn’t see a restroom at all. I wasn’t that hungry yet so I felt frustrated – here I was trekking all over, trying to figure out where to eat lunch just to use a restroom.

Did I mention it was very, very hot?

With time running out, I stepped into Crepes de Paris, saw they had a restroom, and ordered food immediately. It was pretty much empty, so I had my pick of tables. Ate my egg and cheese crepe with a latte that was unbelievably strong and not worth drinking. I read a book and sat in the quiet.

It was magnificent.

I don’t know why people feel uncomfortable eating alone in restaurants. I find it relaxing and super enjoyable. I read more of The Highly Sensitive Person, stared into space, jotted some notes in my journal and enjoyed the a/c when the main door to the patio wasn’t open.

It started to get late and I was worried about traffic (was about 25m away from home, but in LA that could mean a 2hr drive). And I had one more stop to make…

Vroman’s Bookstore.

Come on, you didn’t think my day alone would include walking, eating alone, coffee, reading and writing and not include a stop in a bookstore??

I kind of wish I’d gone here first – I could’ve just eaten in their bakery and I found a little mall on my walk over that had public restrooms. At least now I know for the next time I visit where everything is.

The store was large and pretty noisy. People talking, telephones ringing and kids roaming around. I felt jittery and uncomfortable from the latte and the heat. I was pretty tired by this point and had a mile walk back to my car.

But I tried to enjoy wandering the stacks, reading the little tags that employees had written recommendations on, and basically satiating myself with books. I was overwhelmed and inspired – I wanted to go home and read and write forever. There were so many books, how could I even get to a small portion of them in my lifetime? I thought about taking notes on the ones that jumped out at me, creating a To Read Later list. I wanted to buy a few but also wanted to save money. It made me miss tangible, paper books in a really deep way.

On the walk back to the car, I enjoyed the late afternoon light, even though it was still hot out. I figured out where my car was and cranked the a/c while I drove home. I didn’t hit any traffic and the rest of the evening was relaxing.

After the chaos last week, I’m really glad I had a chance to travel alone for a day, even though I didn’t leave LA.

When I first read Mae Cheverette’s blog, and how she travels alone, I was so intrigued, her posts pulled at my heartstrings. Then there’s The Noisy Plume’s travels and my own day trip around SF 2 years ago now that I remember so fondly, and the deep pull Alaska had on me.

There is something about being in a new place, walking a lot, observing and experiencing without really having to talk to anyone, that opens my heart up. It feels so luxurious, so new, so silly that it can have that affect on me, but it does. It also feels selfish, but in a really indulgent, put-myself-first way. It’s exactly what Julia Cameron calls an artist date – “assigned play”.

I needed this break from routine, from my neighborhood and from the emotional turmoil I felt all last week. I’m so glad I went. xo

#30daysofdresses – day 10

In where I lose my shit…

I look pretty put together in this pic, but this is the day I hit a wall.

Yesterday I mentioned feeling like crap and turning to the women who I admire for support.

After I took this photo, I drove across town for a meeting. The kind of meeting where you wonder why it was planned b/c the people in attendance don’t seem to care much. Or forgot you were coming. Or have to leave early.

It’s hot, and you’re sweating through your dress. Again. And you’re wondering when you get to go back home, but the drive home is a whole other story, because now it’s sweltering in your car, and there’s traffic and you’re gonna sit in some pretty blazing sun traveling west.

I planned to take myself out for lunch after the meeting. Take advantage of the void moon. Try to fill the well.

Found parking, ordered food, took a table. And found I’d made the mistake I often do in public places – I sat near the LOUD TALKER.

Now you could argue that everyone has the right to speak to their table-mate in public places. That I am just being sensitive and overreacting.

And you would be right.

Because I sat there – still completely overheated from the weather and the car ride, a headache pressing on my temples (didn’t realize it then, but I hadn’t had any caffeine the whole day), and now extra on fire from the chili I ordered – steaming with anxiety, trying to read a book…

The woman next to me blab on and on about how she “cried for two weeks when they had to turn down a house in Malibu”. #killme. I texted Stephanie to try and make a joke out of it: accidentally sat next to the quintessential 40 year old Santa Monica mom who won’t shut up about primrose water and full moon yoga.

I moved tables. And then I gave up and left.

Before I even got to my car, the hot tears began streaming down my face behind my sunglasses.

I cried the whole 1/2 mile home, in the garage in my car after I turned it off, in the house on the couch with the dog, and then finally upstairs in my bed. I cried like a torrential rain, a tidal wave. I cried the way toddlers cry when you get the trifecta of a meltdown – hungry, hot and tired.

And I felt sorry for myself. My head was killing me, the day felt like a waste, the $11 I spent on lunch sure was, and why couldn’t I stop crying? Why do I always feel like such shit some days?

I was mad myself. Mad for being sensitive, for not being able to adapt, for exhaustion and emotions and feeling so raw and overwhelmed by the simplest things.

And then I remembered. Highly sensitive person.

Heidi and I chatted about being an HSP – did I identify as one? I had said no, that the term felt weak and a bit much, and I wasn’t that sensitive actually. I was resourceful, practical, tough. None of this needing special treatment BS.

But again, I turned to books and downloaded The Highly Sensitive Person and felt myself come home a little:

The biggest cost to us of being highly sensitive, however, is that our nervous system can become overloadedWe simply reach that point sooner than others.

“HSPs simply process everything more, relating and comparing what they notice to their past experience with other similar things. They do it whether they are aware of it or not.

If you are going to notice every little thing in a situation, and if the situation is complicated (many things to remember), intense (noisy, cluttered, etc.), or goes on too long (a two-hour commute), it seems obvious that you will also tend to wear out sooner from having to process so much.”

Page after page, I could feel the grip I had on myself loosen. Here was someone telling me, assuring me that what I was feeling had a cause, that it was manageable, and the best piece: “To sum it up again, you pick up on the subtleties that others miss and so naturally you also arrive quickly at the level of arousal past which you are no longer comfortable. That first fact about you could not be true without the second being true as well. It’s a package deal, and a very good package”

I can look back over the past few weeks and note many causes – mercury retrograde, the lead up to the full moon, the eclipse that evening, work, events, hormones. And I can list all the reasons why I maybe started to feel better – the release of emotions from crying, the rest I kept taking finally being enough, talking to my therapist, my friends, H…

But whatever the cause of the down cycle and whatever the cause of the upswing… that evening, I finally started feeling normal again.

And thank goodness for that.

Dress is Forever 21. Shoes are Mudd, and no surprise here, think I bought them Kohl’s.

Note: I wrote this on Thursday about my experience on Wednesday. Currently, I am feeling better and I hope you’re having a good weekend. xo

#30daysofdresses – day 9

The little yellow belt is back…so are the boots. Clearly the best $17 I’ve ever spent at Kohl’s.

This dress is my straight forward style – comfy, navy, and an interesting neck and hemline.

That’s it really.

If you’ve been following along, I haven’t been doing so well. As I write this, I’m feeling better, but the start of the week was rough.

But how to explain it to you?

I wake up rested, even happy, to be laying in bed in the dark – the cool desert air coming in, the cloud cover of the westside hiding the sun, and then some thought hits me, and anxiety. Can’t even tell you what the thought is.

Or I feel fine, and decide to vacuum (Carter’s fleas may be the death of me). And as I’m vacuuming, the drone of the motor, the rhythmic back-and-forth, the dog circling me unsure, I start to feel pissed that the carpet sweeper is broken, that I have to vacuum before work, and my mind races through all of these injustices and bam, I’m crying instead of cleaning.

If I could explain it, maybe I could fix it.

But I’m also learning that there’s nothing to fix because I’m not broken.

It just is.

If this dress is straight-forward me, then turning to books is my typical approach to feeling insane. The day I wore this dress I started reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. My friend Steve calls her one of my saints. That evening I watched part one of Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Another of my saints. I watched videos of Pema Chodron on Youtube. These women hold up a light when I’m in this deep darkness. Anything to know that I’m not alone.

And I gathered three things:

1. “Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a questions of engagement.” ~Brene Brown

2. Elizabeth Gilbert saying that we have three different voices in our head. The child, throwing a tantrum because they’re exhausted. The older sister, who we think is the voice of our highest self, saying things like “why do you keep doing this to yourself?!” but, Gilbert said, if there’s any of this ::wagging her finger::, that is not your highest self. There is no judgement from your higher self. And the actual higher self she seeks to listen to, which is full of love, grace and support. The voice that says “I love you” and that’s it.

3. Pema Chodron saying that even she experiences times of meditation where she feels like her mind is crazy and the thoughts do not stop. But even if the experience of meditation that day isn’t great, it’s the post-meditation feeling that matters. That her meditation practice “opens more room in (her) mind”.

I wish I had better answers for myself so I could pass them on to you, but all I can do is read, jot down my notes, let the crying come when it does, and be gentle with myself.

 

Piqued

Technically, I should be traveling in Alaska while you read this, but I’ve pre-posted these links b/c I’m working to take my blog more seriously, and my serious I mean consistency is key. If I haven’t posted at all this week (due to wifi or just because, ALASKA) then I’m sure I’ve shared photos over here on Instagram.

This week’s dog picture was taken by me of (Prince) Potter, owned by friend & photographer Billye Donya – you can check out more of Potter on her Instagram (she’s also the one who snapped our engagement photos back in the day).

Loving my coaching sessions with Heidi Taylor – her post about investing in yourself is full of nuggets of advice.

Been thinking a lot about taking action for my own projects and feeling the motivation to actually put butt-in-chair. Elise hits on a good point in her post about consuming vs creating:

If you’re struggling to get your own shop going or your own blog running or your own business idea off the ground, reading about other people stories is only inspiring to a point. Eventually you have to turn it off and sit at a desk and hammer it out. You have to embrace that not as enjoyable part because that’s the part when it’s actually happening.

I thought this post by Paul Jarvis contained a multitude of practical go-out-and-do advice for experienced freelancers.

Tara Gentile’s Quiet Power series on Facebook is pretty cool. Strategy #1 and #2.

And on the quiet power note – and because I am a deep reader – I tend to agree with much of this: Why Readers, Scientifically, Are The Best People To Fall In Love With (even though H isn’t a reader at all).

I know it’s an ad for Under Armour, but Misty Copeland? Holy crap. This is gorgeous and inspiring and kicks ass. Also, two weeks ago I tried on 10 pairs of leggings at the sports store and the only pair that fit me right was Under Armour, so win-win.

 

 

Piqued

“When really, he thinks, it’s a glowing puddle you carry in your hands; you should spend all your energy protecting it. Fighting for it. Working so hard not to spill one single drop.”
― character talking about time,
Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

It was a pretty quiet week again, though I’m getting ready for our trip to ALASKA ::celebration emoji::

On the Alaska note, one of my favorite Instagram feeds is Seablanket – she’s been living in Alaska for over a year, and her pictures are stunning. You can follow her blog here.

I didn’t know this, but the Alaskan flag is 8 gold stars, in the shape of “the big dipper”, on a blue background. The North Star is larger than the other 7. Tell me that isn’t my love of Alaska + stars + astrology combining into another sign that I am meant to visit this grand state.

And if anyone knew anything about being in the great outdoors, it was John Muir:

“I am los­ing pre­cious days. I am degen­er­at­ing into a machine for mak­ing money. I am learn­ing noth­ing in this triv­ial world of men. I must break away and get out into the moun­tains to learn the news.”
– Alaska Days with John Muir by Samuel Hall Young

I don’t plan on scrapbooking on the trip like this, but I love Kelly Purkey’s way of doing it.

Found this post about Seeing Red In The Gene Pool (or the lack thereof) interesting, especially because I love red heads.

I finished All The Light We Cannot Seehighly recommend. I found it both a simple and stunning read.

And I’m participating in August Break again – if you’d like to follow along – join here.

My sister-in-law Renee plans to blog while we’re in Alaska, but I am undecided. I am really feeling the need to unplug and let my mind drift far, far away from work and every-day dramas. I do plan on sharing pictures via Instagram if we have wifi, and you can follow me @jtaormino21.

Take care xo

Piqued

This week I felt back on track.

I did work, hung out at home, watched season 2 of Orange Is The New Black, went running and ate healthier. I took Monday off, which was much needed. We went to the climbing gym & guys, Kal Drogo aka Jason Momoa works out at my climbing gym! (What a beautiful, beautiful man. Even H was staring.) I co-worked with my friend Billye and swam in her pool. Overall, it was a good week – quiet, productive, and pretty drama free.

I am looking for book recommendations, always. While chatting with my friend Chelsea (a big reader like me) she suggested I check out your summer reading list on the TedBlog. If YOU have suggestions for ME – would love to hear about them in the comments!

You can’t do your job well if your job is all do, from the Artifact Uprising blog. Love this blog. And can I just say, with T-10 days to go until our epic Alaska trip, I am already pinning over the AU book(s) I plan to make from our vacation photos.

But I didn’t pay for beans and water. I paid for the experience, the story, the instagram photo and to satiate my curiosity.

Pricing + marketing by Ari: $12 cup of coffee experience.

Saw Wish I Was Here last weekend. I loved Garden State, and while this movie wasn’t that good, I did enjoy it. And Zach Braff isn’t hard to look out, mmhhh. And yay for movies that have soundtracks, especially ones that include the Bon Iver song in the video below. Which, by the way, was filmed in Iceland but I like to pretend this song is on my mind right now b/c ALASKA.

Oh gosh, and this video made me tear up with how magical it is: Roadtrippers’ time-lapse of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

And to continue on the teary-eyes: This little story of a guy racing his dad’s ghost in the machine of his Xbox hit me pretty hard.

If you missed it, my post about Support got a lot of shares last week. And THANK YOU x10 for reading. I’m writing for you. xo

Recently

finishing the crazy new floors project (blog post coming soon)

rolling with the punches, with my energy, with whatever comes up

going to the dog park and getting coffee on Saturday mornings with H

storing most all of my 17+ years of journals to make room for open space (and, hopefully, plants)

becoming a morning person again, with the sun blazing in at 6am

watching Sherlock and Drunk History

reading Island Beneath The Sea which I am enjoying even though it’s not superbly written

quitting How To Be Good by Nick Hornby – it just made me frustrated and cranky

smelling the deliciousness that is SoCal spring, especially at night. jasmine and honeysuckle blooming, cut grass, BBQ and clean, dry air.

celebrating H’s 30th birthday with friends

loving going out for happy hour to watch the hockey playoffs (see you next season Flyers)

eating out at restaurants a lot, and hoping to get back into home cooking soon

enjoying having a/c in my car again after years of it not working (and just in time for this heat wave, SoCal)

wearing jean shorts I made out of cutting the legs off an old pair of jeans (fist pump)

collecting blog ideas and pictures from the past 2 months of nut-so living

listening to podcasts like Elise Gets Crafty

working on putting my own creative work first

trying to bring some sense of order to our 2nd bedroom/office. now that the downstairs in almost done, the upstairs feels like a cyclone blew through

wishing for some alone time, preferably at a secluded cabin near the ocean

feeling so fucking thankful to be home with no traveling to be had for another 5+ weeks

obsessed with Charlie Worsham‘s record Rubberband. we saw him live at Stagecoach last weekend and he was, by far, one of the best performers. can’t wait to see where his career goes.


lifted this list from Elise Blaha Cripe’s January “Currently” list